Guide to Henbit Identification & Control

henbit weed

Type of Weed: Broadleaf

Lamium amplexicaule

Large Crabgrass

Henbit is a winter annual broadleaf weed found across the United States. This common weed will sprout in the fall and flower in the spring (or sometimes in warmer winters down south).

After it flowers in the spring, it will set seeds which germinate in the fall or winter, allowing it to continually reproduce.

Henbit dies off as temperatures rise in late spring to early summer. Lawns that are thin, shaded, and retain excess moisture in the soil enable this weed to invade.

How to Identify

Henbit is a lightly hairy weed with a square shaped stem that is green to purple in color, usually a blend of both. Its leaves are lobed with a round shape. The lower leaves have petioles (long leaf stems), while the upper leaves grow directly from its stem, and are about 1-2 cm long.

The upper set of leaves will produce a tubular shaped flower, arranged in whorls, that is pinkish-purple and can have darker spots on the lower petals. This unique flower is what makes henbit so distinctive.v

Control Methods

Control Difficulty: Moderate

If you find henbit while its small and dormant, you can pull this weed from the roots by hand. Once pulled, you can spray the area with a selective post-emergent herbicide to prevent future growth, or you can wait to spray until you see signs of new growth.

Otherwise, using a selective pre-emergent herbicide in the fall and early spring will provide best results for controlling henbit. (This time is ideal before this weed has a chance to mature). If you are dealing with henbit in flower beds or natural areas, you can dig or rake up the weed, and then apply a three-inch layer of mulch on top to reduce the growth of it.

Prevention Tips

Maintaining a thick, healthy lawn will be the best way to deter henbit growth. You can do so by mowing your lawn at the proper height, ensuring proper aeration, fertilization, and irrigation.

Later in spring you can use a selective post emergent herbicide, timing it before henbit has naturally died off from rising temperatures. And again, using a selective pre-emergent in early spring and fall annually.

If you’re still wary about henbit and the best way to control or prevent it, contact our knowledgeable team of lawn care technicians who will gladly tackle this weed for you and your lawn.
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